The devastation unfolding in Houston and other parts of coastal Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey reminds us of our previous experiences with Hurricanes Sandy and Irene. Now Hurricane Irma threatens the Atlantic Basin. These hurricanes and other natural disasters reinforce the sad truth that while you can’t always prepare for what Mother Nature will do, you can prepare for her arrival.
Experts recommend having a “Go-Bag” (for each member of the family) on hand with enough provisions to last you and your family several days. Your go-bag should contain important papers (IDs, insurance cards, etc.), contact lists, first-aid items, ready cash and a list of medications, among other things. The NYC Emergency Management Agency provides an excellent list of go-bag essentials for you to consider.
With regard to medications, make sure you have at least a seven day supply on hand should you be forced to evacuate or if your pharmacy is unable to open and dispense drugs. Download Tips For Prescription Preparedness and your Personal Health Summary by the NYC Dept. of Health for the latest advice.
In addition to your personal medications, Dr. Legato advises that you have a supply of a Z-Pack for respiratory illnesses, CIPRO for gastrointestinal illnesses, Imodium for diarrhea, Aleve or Motrin for pain. Always check if you are allergic to any of these items before taking them to prevent an allergic reaction or interaction with a prescribed drug. You may not have immediate access to a medical professional should something go wrong, so make a list of questions and consult with your physician if you have a specific condition when next you see him or her.
Don’t forget medical devices—make sure you have enough batteries on hand and/or a backup device should you need one. Also have an AM/FM/Short Wave radio that’s battery-operated and has a hand crank just in case.
With regard to food storage, smart water with electrolytes and perishable foods such as meats, poultry, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits or canned items should always be checked for expiration dates. If your electricity gets cut-off during a storm, your food may spoil. Be smart; be safe—don’t eat it. Review this excellent guide on food storage from the University of Nebraska for more information and safety tips.
For your go-bag, keep it simple by having some Gatorade and health bars on hand. Both are a good source of nutrition; they don’t take up much space and can last a long time.
You can never be prepared for everything but taking that first step could save your life.